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The mental health patients dying on NHS wards from starvation and neglect

Asystemic failure to provide basic physical care on NHS mental health wards is killing patients across the country, despite scores of warnings from coroners over the past decade, The Independent can reveal.

An investigation has uncovered at least 50 “prevention of future death” reports – used by coroners to warn health services of widespread failures – since 2012, involving 26 NHS trusts and private healthcare providers.

Cases include deaths caused by malnutrition, lack of exercise, and starvation in patients detained in mental health facilities. Experts warn that poor training and a lack of funding are factors in the neglect of vulnerable patients.

The Independent investigation uncovered:

  • Staff failing to carrying out basic health checks, such as assessment for risk of blood clots.
  • Cases of nurses and care assistants without adequate CPR training.
  • Doctors unable to carry out emergency response procedures.
  • Patients not treated for side effects of antipsychotic medication.
  • Rapidly deteriorating health going unnoticed and untreated.

Coroners have exposed multiple cases of mental health patients receiving inadequate treatment in general hospitals, with their illness being mistaken for a psychiatric problem.

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Source: The Independent, 18 December 2022


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